What’s on the menu at Great Lakes Brewpub, the Toronto brewery’s big new beer hall by the water

What’s on the menu at Great Lakes Brewpub, the Toronto brewery’s big new beer hall by the water

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Name: Great Lakes Brewpub
Contact: 11 Lower Jarvis St., greatlakesbrewpub.com, @glb_brewpub
Neighbourhood: East Bayfront
Owner: Peter Bulut
Chef: Alex Hernstein
Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

Great Lakes was the first brewery in Ontario to label its beer with packaged-on dates. “Beer is like bread,” says brewer Nick Perry. “The fresher it is, the better it tastes.” It makes sense, then, that the new brewpub’s food would reflect this ethos.

Driven by the Ontario growing calendar, seasonality is on full display throughout a changing menu that makes heavy use of local meat, produce and even flour. House-made preserves, pickles and infusions add even more flavour. The pizza—a hybrid between Detroit and New York square style—is a specialty. Think puffy, focaccia-like crust with a delightful tang adorned with quality toppings and a golden cheese crown. The tight menu also includes a smash burger made with beef from Tillsonburg’s YU Ranch, snackables (including seriously spicy pineapple habanero wings), salads and desserts.

Fluffy bao made with a creamy oat-milk base are filled with house Szechuan pickled carrots and cucumber, cilantro, sesame seeds, and either traditional char siu pork (pictured here) or grilled tofu. The house-made preserves lend a welcome hit of freshness to this small but mighty bite. $5.


These wings come with a heat warning for a reason, but behind all that habanero is a peppy pineapple flavour. $16 per pound.


These wings are coated in a classic house buffalo sauce and finished with a blue cheese dressing. $16 per pound.


The pizza dough’s deep tang and focaccia-like rise suggests a lengthy fermentation, but that’s not the case: the brewery pulls off two or three short ferments a day without sacrificing any flavour. Could it be the yeast in the air or the local Arva Mill flour? The classic pepperoni pie is bedecked with curled cups of Ezzo pepperoni, organic tomato sauce and mozzarella. $22.


Garlic and olive make up the base of this Greek potato pizza. It’s topped with sliced potato, Castelvetrano olives, feta, fresh oregano and a finishing drizzle of wildflower honey infused with habanero peppers. $26.


The okonomiyaki pizza, inspired by the Japanese savoury pancake, pairs a sweet corn purée with umami-rich bonito, nori flakes, green onion, and fried ginger pork, all topped with an unctuous pork demi-glace and hoisin mayo. There’s a lot going on here, and it all adds up to an addictively indulgent bite. $26.


Here we have the smash burger, of which the indisputable star is the 100 per cent grass-fed Texas Longhorn beef. It’s finished with shaved white onion, iceberg lettuce, house-made mayo and bread-and-butter pickles on a sesame bun. On the side is a crisp green salad with scallion vinaigrette (or you can sub in smashed potatoes). $17.


Panko-breaded, deep-fried chicken thigh is finished with zesty togarashi aioli, house-made kimchi and iceberg lettuce on a potato bun. Ultra juicy chicken makes the dream work here. Smashed potatoes with malt vinegar aioli, rosemary and grated parm come on the side, though you could also ask for salad. $18.


Having recently replaced a rhubarb crumble, the now-in-season strawberry lime version is a wildly delicious combination of berries baked under a coat of rolled oats, nutmeg and brown sugar. Lime zest and vanilla ice cream take it to the stratosphere. $10.


Baking with stouts isn’t a new concept, but the beer’s flavour is often obscured by louder ones. Chef Hernstein avoids that problem by instead topping his chocolate brownie with a syrup made from imperial stout. The coffee, vanilla and cocoa bean–laced brew is made in collaboration with Pilot Coffee Roasters. $10.


Hernstein with a couple of his creations
The drinks

GLB is known for its pale ales and IPAs, the most popular of which are the dry, refreshing Canuck pale ale and the hoppy, unfiltered Octopus Wants to Fight. While most of the beer is produced at GLB’s Etobicoke brewery, the brewpub makes a few of its own, including experimental ones you’ll only find here. Besides beer, there’s a citrusy vodka soda and a few cocktails made with GLB’s own London-style gin.

The lineup of draught on the day we visited


And some of the cans for sale in the retail shop


Made with two ounces of GLB’s London-style dry gin, this is the gin smash du jour. Ingredients rotate based on seasonality: this one is infused with the season’s last rhubarb and lemon. It’s topped off with Hop Pop, a nonalcoholic hop-infused sparkling water. $15.


When brewer Nick Perry isn’t posing for pictures, he’s busy creating experimental beers exclusively for the East Bayfront location, including a lager currently in the works. Anything produced at the microbrewery is strictly for consumption on site.


The space

The open, airy room has a retail space up front, a microbrewery in the back and seating options for everything from after-work pints at the bar to business meetings and cozy family dinners. A fun mural depicts familiar friends—like the flannel-wearing Canuck and the pugilistic cephalopod.

Photo by Ebti Nabag

Constructed from a mash tank that dates back to mid-20th-century Germany, this massive light is eight feet in diameter.